As part of Online Talks on Russian Media, we will discuss the project FEMCORUS ‘Mediated feminism(s) in contemporary Russia’ with its two participants, Saara Ratilainen and Daniil Zhaivoronok. We will talk about the goals and scope of the project, feminism and, particularly, celebrity-feminism in Russia, Putin’s conservative and traditionalist turn in politics, the role of social networks platforms in contemporary activism, and much more.

Online talk will be organized in Zoom November, 9 from 14:00 to 15:30 (GMT+2). If you want to participate and get emails about the next online talks, please leave your contact information here until November, 8 noon: registration form. If you registered for Online talks or RMLN email list before, no need to register again, we’ll send you the information.

Synopsis of the project: FEMCORUS questions the nature and potential of feminist cultural politics using the case of Russia, where a particular media environment is combined with a pronounced societal ‘conservative turn’. Following global and regional campaigns such as #MeToo and ‘I am not afraid to tell’ the feminist agenda became prominent in Russian mainstream culture and public field. By investigating the mediated processes of (re)appropriation and (re)translation of global feminist ideas in the Russian context, this project provides a novel perspective on the challenges and potential of feminist politics in the contemporary globalized world. The project claims that an ongoing mediatization of feminisms in Russia feeds off the western ‘celebrity feminism’, namely celebrity personas’ appropriations of certain aspects of feminism for their own ends sporadically and eclectically using (often very loosely adopted) feminist slogans and ideas. The project asks: What does ‘feminism’ as mediated practice and discourse mean in Russia and how do Russian audiences make sense of and relate to these mediated feminisms? The multiple sets of data (media material and focus group interviews in three research sites) are analyzed with the help of methods stemming from media, and cultural studies, and sociology.  The project will generate an inclusive typology of mediated feminist positionality ranging from prominent female figures to online grassroots influencers that will be informative to academic research, policy-makers and societal actors.

Speaker’s bio: Zhaivoronok Daniil is a sociologist, philosopher, and feminist researcher. He worked as a researcher at the Gender Studies Program at the European University in St. Petersburg and collaborated with many feminist and LGBTQ projects in Russia (FEM TALKS, Laboratory of sexuality studies, Russian LGBT Network, and others). With Saara Ratilainen, Galina Miazhevich, and Inna Perheentupa, he is working on the FEMCORUS ‘Mediated feminism(s) in contemporary Russia’ project at Tampere University. Within the FEMCORUS project, Daniil focuses on the reactions and interactions of different online audiences to feminist publications.

Saara Ratilainen, PhD, University Lecturer in Russian Language and Culture at Tampere University (Finland), PI of the Academy of Finland project Mediated Feminism(s) in Contemporary Russia (2021-25) exploring the meanings, reception, and societal potential of feminist media discourses of Russophone convergence media. Her field of expertise covers Russian media and cultural studies, especially contemporary popular culture, digital networks, fan studies, and gender and feminist studies. Her recent publications include ‘Culture in Putin’s Russia: Institutions, Industries, Policies’ (Cultural Studies, 2018 w/ Turoma and Trubina) and “Norway Reimagined: Popular Geopolitics and the Russophone Fans of Skam” (Nordicom Review 2020).

Moderator: Dr Katja Lehtisaari (Tampere University).

Online talk on Russian Media is a collaborative initiative between Russian Media Lab Network, University of Helsinki, and Tampere Research Center for Russian and Chinese Media.

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